Legs In The Metaverse, Heads In The Reality – Information

Hello, welcome to your weekend!

The attentive reader might notice a strange disconnect in this weekend’s newsletter. Above the fold, you’ll see Margaux’s cover story exploring how social media platforms can identify when users are experiencing manic episodes or other symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Its reports are based on a decade of research showing that TikTok, Instagram, and other sites can tell when someone is losing control, often before a user’s friends or family know. Although one researcher claimed that “a 6-year-old could tell you if someone was manic” on social media, the platforms themselves often do little to help.

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Now go to the bottom of the newsletter and calculate what the Metaverse builders really pay attention to: the legs. Legs of the avatar. Virtual reality avatar legs nonexistent.

That’s not to say that Mark Zuckerberg can’t think about sanity and digital appendages at the same time, but it’s surprising how disconnected the real world and the imaginary are becoming. As we are persuaded by social media companies to devote more time and attention to the metaverse, young people using existing social media products are painfully disintegrating into the real world.

It makes you wonder: As the attention of technology leaders shifts to the next huge social experiment, who cares about the people still living in the current experiment?

TikTok and other social media sites have become a go-to for people with bipolar disorder, which can put them at serious risk of harm. This was the case with famous influencer Gabbie Hanna, who disbanded last month in front of millions of viewers. Margaux explores the thorny questions surrounding the interplay between psychological disorders and social media: What responsibility do platforms have to protect users with manic episodes? What if technology itself worsens their conditions?

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Last week, the Meta COO stepped down after 14 years. With the start of Sandberg’s next phase, Annie assembled a cabinet of billionaire whisperers, public relations consultants and marketing consultants to come up with a series of scenarios. Should Sheryl Invest? Join another tip? Try politics? If you’re reading this, Sheryl, here’s where you might want to look next.

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Christopher Bouzy, founder and director of the four-year-old anti-hate research organization Bot Sentinel, faces widespread abuse in his battle against hate trolls and robots. But as Jessica Lucas reports, wading through the hottest places in culture in recent years – from Amber Heard’s libel suit, to the slimy campaign against Meghan Markle, to Elon Musk’s recurring battle to take control of Twitter – it seems he’s the one host the fight.

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Sleepless nights were once a badge of honor among the tech elite. Now, there is nothing worse than a sleepless CEO. Between sleep detectors, smart mattresses, supplements and subscriptions, there is no shortage of ways to optimize your night’s sleep. Arielle spoke with startup founders and technicians to find out what they use to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up with more energy.

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Look: first Chucky, then Annabelle, now M3GAN
What’s scarier: a future where advanced AI becomes sentient or a future where robots can twerk like Miley Cyrus? Terribly, the trailer for “M3GANOffers both. The film, which will be released on January 13, stars Allison Williams (“Get Out”) as the modern day Dr. Frankenstein, who brings home an AI doll as a playmate for his orphaned niece Katie. You can see where she is. It wasn’t long before the robot doll started tearing people apart, pushing children past moving cars and occasionally running on all fours like one of those TikTok girls on horseback. The virality of the trailer has almost ensured that “M3GAN” will be a box office success, and not only for this crazy dance scene. —Ariel

Listening: A “new” interview with Steve Jobs
“It’s nice to sit in the car and listen to you angry,” Steve Jobs told Joe Rogan last week. Sure, Jobs died in 2011, before he had a chance to sit down for an interview with the podcaster, but that didn’t stop the AI ​​from wanting the conversation to exist. Podcast.ai, a weekly podcast created with artificial intelligence tools, collected hours of Jobs’ speeches and Rogan videos in a 19-minute conversation. The result is eerily realistic, with the two discussing everything from LSD to Microsoft chess. Now the podcast is soliciting suggestions for which celebrities will go to the powwow – Albert Einstein and Buddha are currently favorites. —Margaux

Reading: Bad news, bears
Sadly, we bring you a disturbing new story of attempted election interference: a spam attack this week targeted Greasy Bear Week, the annual competition organized by Katmai National Park, Alaska, in which the internet chooses its favorite large sea urchin. , all with the aim of raising awareness of conservation. According to NRP, the election padding resulted in 9,000 fraudulent counts for a brown bear named Holly. When the organizers detected the election fraud, they added a captcha to the evaluation process and in the end, Bear 747, a 1,400-pound man nicknamed “Bear Force One,” won for the second time. It is unclear whether Holly will accept the election outcome. —Abe

Note: the birth of car sharing
Rarely is clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Hollister introducing a new feature that retailers should have been using for years. According to the Wall Street Journal, Share2Pay offers credit cardless customers (e.g. teens) the ability to upload their virtual shopping carts to the Hollister app and then share them with others (e.g. parents, I don’t know) for checkout and payment. The Share2Pay recipient can also change and remove the sharer’s choices, which has an advantage for everyone: teens can push adults to pay; parents monitor adolescents’ shopping habits; and branding helps convert navigation into sales. – Annie

who makes you think

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Narrator: Sorry tadpoles, the legs are actually not soon.

Until next weekend, thanks for reading.

– Jon

Weekend editor, The Information

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